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Taking the Fairtrade message to school

15-year-old Jake Mairs is part of the new generation of young people who have grown up with the FAIRTRADE Mark and he is determined to be part of the continuing success story of Fairtrade.

Jake, a Year 11 pupil at Stockport School in Greater Manchester, first heard about Fairtrade at a School Council meeting two years ago. He says: ‘I was amazed at the potential of Fairtrade as soon as I heard about how it worked. I was really excited to learn how Fairtrade reached and helped so many people across the world.’

After hearing about Fairtrade, Jake joined the steering group which helped his school achieve Fairtrade status. Since then he has been instrumental in keeping Fairtrade on the school’s agenda with the full support of many other pupils, the teaching staff and the headteacher. He is also now a member of Stockport’s Fairtrade Town group.

He says: ‘All the year groups at school study Fairtrade each term and we serve Fairtrade refreshments at school events. Lots of us took part in a Fairtrade banana eating record attempt last year which was good fun.

‘A producer - Rosa Helena Lopez DeSoto, a coffee grower from Colombia - came into the school to talk to us during this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight and that really brought home how important Fairtrade is to many people.’

As well as school Jake has taken the Fairtrade message home and his parents have adjusted their shopping lists accordingly! Jake’s parents are happy to support his campaigning and anticipate that he will be influential in promoting Fairtrade when he moves to a sixth form centre next year.

After that Jake has ambitions to take the Fairtrade message to University and into his working life - at the moment he plans to become a teacher.

‘Although I was born in the same year as the FAIRTRADE Mark I obviously wasn’t able to get involved from the very start – but I think that in the next 15 years and beyond young people like me will continue to help support the Fairtrade movement as we’ve grown up with it and know that it is the right way forward.’

Want your school or university to achieve Fairtrade status? Find out more.